A few weeks ago, the New York Times highlighted the work of Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander. The article focused in part on her piece "I Wish Your Wish", shown below.
The conceit of the piece is rather lovely. As described in the article, the piece "is derived from a tradition popular among pilgrims to the Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim in Bahia, who bind ribbons to their wrists or the church’s front gate in the belief that when the ribbons fall off or disintegrate, their wishes will be granted." I had the pleasure of seeing this piece at the 2008 Carnegie International, and being completely charmed, I found a wish I loved, picked the ribbon, and tied it on. Two years ago. And that damned wish will just not fall off:
I'm assuming that the pilgrims in Bahia did not use modern synthetic materials, but sadly, Neuenschwander did.